People looking for a different kind of social networking experience should explore Quora, a question-and-answer website edited by its user community. It's physically structured like Facebook, but instead it connects people to ideas and conversations and to people outside of their social circles: Members aren't limited to hearing from people who are friends or who they follow.
On Quora, people post interesting questions and get interesting answers -- often from experts in the field. Recent samples: "What do nerds think of 'The Big Bang Theory?' "; "If we consider all of them in their prime who is the better coder: Mark Zuckerberg, Bill Gates or [Quora chief executive and co-founder] Adam D'Angelo?"
Topics include technology, education, sports, books, science, television series and many more. Users can follow specific topics or other Quora members, generating a lively customized newsfeed, and they can comment on responses and share them with others.
The digital airwaves got a little more crowded with the launch of Google's new subscription music streaming business.
The search giant's Google Play Music All Access service combines the features of popular music services such as Spotify and Pandora. It delivers personalized radio based on the listener's song or artist preferences, and music recommendations based on those tastes.
The music plays without ads. There are no limits to how many times a listener can skip over a song and move on to the next one.
Subscribers can store up to 20,000 tracks from their own iTunes library or other music stored on their computer. They can listen to their music from any of their devices without syncing.
The subscription fee for All Access is $9.99/month, starting with a 30-day free trial period. There's a discount of $7.99/month for people who sign up by June 30.
There's a free standard version, which doesn't offer the customized streaming and is limited to cloud storage for the listeners' own music collections, which they can access without syncing. They also get the ad-free feature and the ability to buy music through Google Play.
So far, user reviews have been mostly positive, although many people are complaining that there's no way to delete tracks they don't want.
There's more and more TV to watch online. Amazon recently announced a licensing deal with NBCUniversal Cable and New Media Distribution that will bring new series to Amazon Instant Video viewers, including NBC's "Grimm" and "Smash." Coming later -- NBC's "Hannibal" and SyFy's "Defiance."
Amazon Prime members can watch for free: They pay a $79 annual fee, which includes unlimited free streaming of more than 40,000 movies and TV episodes, along with free shipping on Amazon purchases. Others pay as they go to watch Instant Video TV episodes and movies.
Children's programming such as "Curious George" and "Land Before Time" will be available for Kindle Free Time Unlimited, Amazon's subscription plan for kids and families.
Adrian McCoy: firstname.lastname@example.org or 412-263-1865.